Techno is a type of electronic dance music, originally originating from the largest city in the US state of Michigan, Detroit in the middle and late 1980s. As a musical genre, techno is stylistically a repetitive instrumental music, which is often produced and used by DJs on a DJ set, played in nightclubs or parties. The music uses a central rhythmic component, mostly using a common time signature, which is marked by a bass drum and a backbeat made from a snare drum that usually has a time between 120 and 150 beats per minute. Techno music is also known as a musical genre that uses a lot of music production technology to make its sound, like the most modern digital audio workstations, drum machines, synthesizers and even retro electronic music devices. Techno is a musical genre that is very selective in the use of the word to describe music, so that it is not confused with other genres that may seem similar to a casual listener, like trance or house music.
- Origins –
There were many influences that converged in the 1980s in Detroit, where techno music emerged. Techno was the result of a mix of music, electric jazz, electronic music, electro, funk and Chicago home and the influence of fictional futuristic themes that were influential in the American culture of the time. The music that would become techno was made possible in the 1980s thanks to the Roland TB-303 mini-keyboard and later the Roland TR-808 programmable drum machine, which allowed for an inexpensive way to preform the sounds required by the music.
The first known use of techno as a term to define this specific genre of music took place in 1988, when the British musical entrepreneur Neil Rushton approached Belleville Three, based in Detroit, because he wanted to license their music to be released in the UK. They decided to use the word techno as a way to describe their tracks and their music and help make it look distinct from Chicago house music. Prior to this event, techno had been involved in Detroit for most of the 1980s, with Belleville Three (Kevin Saunderson, Derrick May and Juan Atkins) collaborating together shortly before releasing the albums separately. Atkins has also worked with Rick Davis in their band Cybotron on album and techno music before this. Other techno musicians and DJs from the Detroit scene of the time include Eddie Fowlkes, James Pennington and Blake Baxter. The term techno was used in Detroit in the 1980s before 1988, but that was the first time the term was used to describe music when it was advertised to the public.
- Dissemination and development –
The 1988 license and the official name of the techno music between Rushton and Belleville Three can be seen as a turning point, since the disc of the compilation “Techno! The New Dance Sound by Detroit” helped to give techno an identity in Europe and separates it from other types of underground dance music that emerge in the era. However, music was not widespread in America and outside large cities like Detroit and Chicago. Music producers felt frustrated, so many of the first and second wave artists, particularly those from Detroit, went to Europe, as music, nightclubs and associated raves were becoming an important event in Europe, especially in the Kingdom Kingdom.
In the UK, techno music also became pop music and an independent British record label, Warp Records began building a group of techno musicians, with the aim of exploring new areas of the genre. However, the popularity of techno in the UK started to shrink in 1993 and many techno artists went to Germany and also to Belgium, where music was more popular. In the mid-1990s there were a variety of underground dance music genres that competed with techno, which led to different music that played away from techno. There was also the fact that the dance music scene of which techno was a part had become commercialized and mainstream, which led to a diminished rave and nightclub scene and a break in the way dance music was to be performed by every faction within dance music genres. It also seemed that techno had become creatively stale and underground artists were attracted to non-techno music styles. By the late 1990s, techno had been thrown onto the roadside and post-techno styles emerged to take their place.
- Notable professionals –
The most famous techno music practitioners are the so-called Belleville Three, Kevin Saunderson, Derrick May and Juan Atkins, who are known as the founders of techno music and the Detroit techno music scene. The three released a number of different albums, plus singles, when they worked together mostly on 1980 through the mid-1990s when techno was at its peak. The Belleville Three has inspired many techno artists of the future, with May having in particular given lessons to future artists such as Carl Craig and Stacey Pullen.
Other notable members of the Detroit techno scene include Eddie Fowlkes, James Pennington and Blake Baxter, who have had a lot of albums each. Fowlkes and Baxter are also known for going to the techno scene in Germany, especially in Berlin and having a more direct influence there. Paul van Dyk, real name Matthias Paul, is a German DJ who started his career in 1990 and was one of the first so-called DJ superstars. It was an important part of the German techno and trance music scene, but now it makes electronic music, preferring not to classify it. He won a German Grammy Award for his work and was an important part of the German techno scene in 1990 and is still very active today.
- Greater importance and inheritance –
The original Detroit techno scene helped launch a variety of regional scenes, subgenres, fusion genres and successor music forms. The other regional techno scenes developed are the scene of Nortec that developed in Tijuana, Mexico, the scene of Schranz that developed in Germany and the scene of Freetekno that developed in Europe and then spread in Canada , Australia and northwest America. Techo has also developed several subgenres that separated in the late 1980s and 1990s including: acid techno, ambient techno, hardcore techno, minimal techno, techno dub and techno techno. Techno has also helped inspire many fusion genres that utilized aspects of techno music such as, eurodance, IDM, kuduro, techstep, techstyle and trance.